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Inside Amy Schumer

The first season of Inside Amy Schumer was one of the funniest things on TV, and so far – 2 episodes in – the second season is just as good if not even funnier. So glad that this show exists, it’s just so damn funny.

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PressPause Update

PressPause is go.

If you’re curious to find out how last week’s first session went, I wrote a short rundown over at the PressPause site. As you’ll see, our first meeting was about getting to know each other, and coming up with the game ideas that we’ll be working on in teams over the course of “Season 1,” which we expects to last 10 sessions or so.

I came up with the “Roguelike Combini” idea, and am pretty excited that it’ll be the project I’ll be working on, along with my awesome team.

Also, I’ve created a sister site, PressPause Codex, where the group will be able to share links that relate to Unity, as well as things that were discussed at the sessions (which is why you currently see links to a Wikipedia entry about roguelikes and the trailer for Goat Simulator). It’s just an easy way to keep track of useful references as we experience all of this together.

If you’re just finding out about this now and are interested in taking part, I’m afraid it’s probably too late now to join in – but don’t worry, I fully expect us to do a “Season 2.”

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Mercenary Kings

I’m pretty sure I don’t like this game. I thought I’d really like it, since it looked like a cross between Metal Slug and Contra, with a more modern design sensibility (and it’s a free PS+ download on PS4), but so far I’m just not really having much fun playing it. The thing that is frustrating me the most is that every mission has a timer – something I’m generally not a huge fan of in games – and since the levels are quite complex, there’s a lot of pressure in trying to finish before the end (so far my missions tend to be find/kill 8 of a type of character). I wouldn’t mind exploring these levels if it was done on my own time – I do love Metroidvania-type games – but with the pressure of the timer, I just feel frustrated trying to access a map that isn’t particularly detailed, and then moving around in rather large levels. They’re also using a Gears of War-type reload mechanic which, in a game like Gears of War is fine since you’re doing it after firing through a rather large clip of ammo, but doing it here every time I shoot 6 bullets is a huge pain in the ass. It could be just me playing this wrong, but I’m not really looking to play much more of it.

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Monument Valley

As everyone has been saying since its release last week, this game is indeed a thing of wonder. The visual aesthetics alone make it a must-buy, but the sounds also add a lot to the good feels you get while playing it. The game so far isn’t particularly challenging – I’ve only played about half I think – but for me it’s really all about enjoying the beautiful visuals, and moving around in the Escher-like environments. Can’t recommend this enough.

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What Up With That?

Let’s get to some updates.

Since all of my sites died this past weekend – see previous post – I’d like to post something here that offers up a few updates on everything. I do hope to have versions of some of these sites up again in the near future, but it’s going to take time – and I’m still not sure if I’m going to stick to Tumblr, or go back to hosting.

First up is The Magaziner, a site I launched around 5 years ago, that gave me outlet for my magazine obsessions. The site hasn’t been particularly active over the past year or so – mostly just sticking to “new releases” posts and the odd news item – and in fact a week ago I had posted a message saying that I was putting the site “back on the shelf” for now, meaning on an indefinite hiatus, until I could figure out what to with it.

I guess this whole situation really did put a final nail in that coffin.

For PauseTalk, I was already planning on skipping April, because I’m going to be out-of-town when the edition should have been held (first Monday of the month). Since the first Monday of May falls during Golden Week, I think I’ll do Vol. 78 during the last week of April, but will update you all in a week or two. The next site I want to get online – at least in a limited manner – is the PauseTalk one, since I do think that all of those participants lists are useful for many. You can also always get updates through Facebook and Twitter.

My Codex podcast was yet again on a bit of a break (the last episode was released in December), and I’m really not sure what to do with that. I do still want to do them, but since the feed for it was something I did manually and that I hosted, if I do decide to stick with Tumblr for my sites, I’m not sure how I’ll be able to continue to share it through iTunes (which I think is important for a podcast).

Thankfully, PressPause was unaffected by any of this, since I created the main site on Tumblr, and I use Google Groups for the newsletter that keeps all members informed, as well as for the forum where we will share info about the sessions and have discussions. Our first session is happening tomorrow (Thursday, April 3), and I’m incredibly excited about it.

So there you go, that’s where things are at. I have received some good news as it seems that I am going to recover all of the data for all of my sites – thanks to the amazing person behind Kaizen Garden, who I can’t say enough good things about.

Oh, and on Friday I’m heading to Okinawa for the first time ever, on Iriomote Island to be more precise. The plan is for a weekend of trekking, sea exploration, and kayaking. Can’t wait.

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Harmony of Despair

I remember when this first came out a few years ago, and that I wasn’t too excited about it. I eventually picked it up during a sale, and even then, it took a while before I finally really played it with a friend over, and that’s when this game truly shines. Last night I played some more with a friend over, and was reminded of how much fun this game can be. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve been playing Castlevania: Symphony of the Night lately on my Vita, and this basically offers up the same graphics and gameplay, but in a multiplayer context. Sure, sometimes it can be slightly frustrating when you’re lost in the giant level and aren’t sure where to go next, but you still have fun zooming in and out, trying to figure out a way to get to the final boss. 

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Nintendo Land

I finally got to play some multiplayer Nintendo Land last night, and it was an absolute blast. Before that I had tried a few of the solo games, and although they were fine, it wasn’t really the kind of thing I’d go back to. But having a bunch of friends over and playing through stuff like the Luigi’s Mansion or Animal Crossing inspired games were just so damn fun. But man, there were some frustrating – and downright ridiculous – things to deal with. First off is that for some reason, Nintendo Land refuses to let you use a pro controller for any of the games – I had the Wii U controller and two Wiimotes, and a friend brought over his pro controller. It makes no sense. Also, when you play most of these games, you are using the Wiimotes sideways (as NES-style controllers), but for some reason, only on the screen where you select your avatars, you have to hold them like a remote to make the selection (not by pointing, but just to use the digital pad to make the selection). Sure, it’s small stuff, but it really doesn’t make sense. I will say that the aesthetics are incredibly colorful, and it’s simply a beautiful game to play, even compared to stuff you see on the PS4. It’s also a nice touch that you see video of the face of the person who is using the Wii U controller on the TV screen on some of the games. I look forward to playing more of this next time I have friends over.

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Vice

I’m a big fan of the HBO incarnation of Vice, and with a second season having recently started, I’m again enjoying watching reports on stuff that, well, you just don’t usually see covered by regular news outlets. And I say enjoy, but it’s more constant outrage, like with the report on slavery in Pakistan from the second episode. Makes me so angry, but I am thankful that they are covering this sort of stuff.

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The Desolation of Smaug

Despite the fact that I love the original LOTR trilogy to death – and have watched the extended editions multiple times – I’ve had trouble getting excited for The Hobbit trilogy. I’m pretty sure it’s the tone I don’t like, due to the overly jolly band of dwarves that form the focus of the films. It took me a while before I finally watched the first one, and although as expected the opening moments were not fun for me, the second half became something much more exciting to watch. I will say that I liked The Desolation of Smaug quite a bit more, even though, again, it doesn’t match any of the films from the LOTR trilogy. But the sequence in the river with Legolas jumping everywhere and shooting arrows is definitely one of the best actions scenes in all of the films.

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Anchorman 2

It saddens me to say I didn’t find this to be all that great. Sure, there are definitely some big laughs in there, and I quite enjoyed that cameo-filled ridiculous park brawl near the end, but overall, it just felt disappointing. Maybe I just remember Anchorman as being funnier than it was, but there were many times while watching this that just felt kinda blah.